For years, we have been inundated with Nike ads that tell us to, “Just do it!” Their hope is that we put our hesitations (and excuses) aside and get out there and exercise while buying their shoes. While Nike’s motives are obviously like any business’s, to increase sales, you can’t deny that if you want to get into better shape you have to take action.
Your business building activities are no different. In order for you to reach the next level in the financial services industry as an adviser, you need to “just do it”—whether that means cold calling, creating seminars, asking for referrals, or whatever other tasks help you get out there and accomplish your business goals.
The reason why many financial advisers have a natural hesitation to take action is because often it is easier not to do something, our excuses masking the real and rational explanations of why we are not taking action. This is done almost unconsciously by tossing out the “yeah but…” or the “what if…” whenever we are faced with a decision about having to take action.
Excuses are often used as an instinctual defense mechanism, a way for us to avoid some type of pain. One example of this would be a financial adviser who is thinking about prospecting:
Coach: “You need to prospect to grow your business!”
Adviser: Yeah, but I don’t have time to prospect in a volatile market because I need to talk to my clients more often. I can’t neglect my client base!”
So what is the real pain that this financial adviser is avoiding? Maybe it is the perceived pain that they will lose their client base or get rejected while prospecting. The point is that they are avoiding some type of perceived pain and as a result, will continue not to prospect.
How to Take Action:
- Get Real with Yourself
If you absolutely know that you need to do something but are not doing it, take a minute to get real with yourself—admit that you are avoiding taking action. Identifying the pattern is the beginning of understanding and breaking it.
- Call Yourself Out
Ask yourself a simple but difficult question to determine if procrastination is helping or hurting you: “Is avoiding this activity moving my business forward or backward?” If you are completely honest with yourself you already know the answer.
- Get Leverage on Yourself
The simplest and most powerful inquiry you can ask yourself at this point is, “Why?” By asking this question, you are required to search for the answer to why you are hurting yourself and/or your business, thereby increasing the perceived pain of the procrastination.
- Find Your Target
Getting crystal clear on what needs to happen is vitally important for taking action. In other words, you can’t hit a target you can’t see, so you need to map out the list of activities that you need to do.
- Prove Yourself Right
Proving yourself right means knowing what you need to do … and doing it!
Success is subjective; some people feel success is only achieved if your goals are accomplished, while others feel that taking action, in-and-of-itself, is success! Regardless of what you believe one thing is absolutely true, there can be no success without first taking action.
Daniel C. Finley
Advisor Solutions Inc.
St. Paul, Minn.